By far the last few weeks in the nicu were the hardest times in terms of pumping for my preemie. I pumped 6 times a day 7 days a week for a total of 108 days or about 3 months. Thats about 40 hours a week! As you can imagine, I was seriously hating my pump by that time and really wanting to throw in the towel. My final goal was to breastfeed baby once we brought him home but this goal seemed more and more unattainable the closer he got to discharge.
Disclaimer: My experience is my own and of course is not meant to replace or serve as medical advice, but only my opinion. As always, discuss your personal situation with your doctors.
The nurses didnt help either by isnsiting that he only nurse once or twice per day at the nicu and at home. There was also an issue with my supply barely being sufficient for a 24 hour period. (All that beautiful frozen milk stash in the pictures, was completely unusable due to fast acting lipase activity in my milk...go figure!) So nurses kept trying feed our baby fomula which seriously infuriated me considering I was pumping like a cow so that he wouldn't have to have formula. UGHHH...stories for another post.
Most of the nicu nurses were absolotely amazing and complete rosckstars! However there were a couple of them and one in particular who gave us issues from the get go.
The day before Eliaz was discharged, my Willow pump stopped working and I was so discouraged! Thinking I was going to lose my supply, get mastitis, and never be able to switch baby to breast. I had a giant crying meltdown that night but that same night we also got the news that baby might be coming home the following day.
On discharge day I ditched all of the nurses advice, mostly because my pump was out of service, and nursed baby as much as he would allow until discharge. Once we got home he was so much more relaxed and much better at latching. Within a few hours of being home, he was basically a pro at the breast and I never even touched my pump until about a month later for date night!
Stay strong nicu mama! Exclusive pumping is hard work but it is possible and rewarding. Read my entire series of posts on pumping for micropreemie | Lactation Essentials | Focus on Preemie | Miracle Medicine | Homestretch | Final Notes